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Residency in Primary Care

Basic Information

Category Title: Primary Care Optometry
Program Area of Emphasis:
Program Site: Malcom Randall VA Medical Center
Program Location: VA
Program Address: 5533 SW 64th Street

Gainesville, Florida 32608
Phone Number: 352-271-5967
Fax Number: 352-271-5968
Affiliation: Nova Southeastern University, College of Optometry
Director of Residency Education:

Mariem Abdou, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.

Program Application Deadline: January 31st
Program URL:

Program Description

Date Program Established: 2001
Accreditation Status: Accredited

Click here for more information about accreditation of optometric residency programs.

Combined Residency/Graduate Program: No
Program Mission Statement:

The Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Gainesville, in conjunction with the Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry and the University of Florida Department of Ophthalmology, offers a one-year residency program in primary care optometry. The mission of the program is to provide qualified post-doctoral practitioners with an advanced educational experience that will enhance clinical skills in the areas of primary eye care and ocular disease. Individuals completing the program will be able to deliver an advanced level of optometric care in a clinical setting, practice in co-management and multidisciplinary practices, and serve as clinical instructors at optometry schools.

Program Description:

The resident will be required to participate in a structured educational program whose emphasis is on direct patient care. The resident will attend faculty lectures, grand rounds, and journal clubs. Residents will maintain a log of all lectures attended.The program is designed with an emphasis on exposing the resident to a wide diversity of patient encounters. To achieve this, the resident will participate with specialists in their particular fields of expertise. The resident will also examine a significant number of primary care referrals from other practitioners in the hospital and will participate in the follow-up, referral, and co-management of these patients. The ultimate goal is to enhance the resident's ability to independently assess and treat primary care patients in a clinical setting. To insure the goals of the program are met, a log will be maintained listing the number of patients seen, their clinical diagnoses, and any specific treatment provided by the resident.

Program Length:
Number of Positions Available in Program: 3
Program Starting Date: July 1st
Typical Weekly Hours and After-Hours Responsibilities:

Residents perform clinical duties Monday through Friday at either the VA hospital clinic or the off-site Optometry Clinic. Clinic duties start at 7:30 am and finish around 4:00 pm at the Optometry Clinic, and begin at 8:00 am and finish around 4:30 pm at the VA hospital clinic. Residents are expected to stay until all patients have been examined. Residents rotate through the various specialty clinics throughout the year including Contact Lens Clinic (1/3 of the year) and Low Vision Clinic (1/3 of the year). Residents are assigned to rotate through the various Ophthalmology clinics throughout the year. Residents see patients presenting for consultative exams, return visits, visual fields, and urgent problems in both clinics throughout each week. Grand Rounds are Friday mornings at 7:30 a.m. The residents will be in regular communication with the Residency Coordinator to discuss clinical topics, ongoing projects, periodic evaluations, or any other residency issues. 

Requirements for Completion:

1) Timely attendance at all scheduled clinics, lectures, and seminars 2) Participation and completion of all assigned clinical duties 3) Satisfactory preparation and delivery of all scholarly assignments 4) Preparation of a manuscript of publishable quality 5) Performance of all additional duties as assigned by the Program Coordinator 6) Receipt of satisfactory evaluations from all faculty members

Program Salary/Stipend: $34,888.00
Program Benefits and Liability Coverage: Health Coverage

Professional Liability Insurance


Paid Sick Leave

Completion Certificate: Yes
VA Hospital Affiliation: Yes

Key Contacts

Program Coordinator, Coordinator Title: Susannah Marcus, O.D., F.A.A.O., Program Coordinator
Telephone: 352-271-5967
E-mail Address:
Program Co-Coordinator, Co-Coordinator Title:
E-mail Address:

Application Information

Application Materials and Procedures:

Susannah Marcus, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Optometry Residency Coordinator


Phone: (352) 374-1611 x 4908

Selection Procedure and Admission Criteria:

Candidates must register with the Optometry Resident Matching Service (ORMatch) by January 31stto be considered. Candidates will provide through ORMatch the following information: 

  1. Name

  2. Address

  3. Telephone number

  4. Email address

  5. Curriculum vitae

  6. Letter of intent (brief statement from the applicant regarding his/her desire to complete this particular residency)

  7. Official Transcript (a copy must also be received directly from the ACOE accredited College of Optometry for verification)

  8. A minimum of three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the academic and/or clinical abilities of the applicant. 

Interviews will be requested of specific candidates based upon the quality of their credentials and application information.  Face to face interviews are preferred. The qualified applicants are interviewed by an interview team which consists of the Residency Coordinator and at least one additional faculty member.  A standardized list of questions is used. The interview team will rank applicants in order of merit based on the applicant's qualifications as well as personal and professional characteristics. The Residency Coordinator will seek input from other faculty members and staff of the VA Eye Clinic as needed. The list will be submitted to ORMatch and the candidate and program will be notified of the results by ORMatch.

Applicants must have received a license of optometry (OD degree) from a College of Optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometry Education (ACOE) prior to matriculation. Applicants must also be license eligible in the state of Florida or another state, so all parts of the NBEO must be passed, as close to the start of residency training as possible. Applicants who have not passed a part of the NBEO may still be considered depending on the strength of their other application materials, but typically will be at a disadvantage compared to applicants who have passed. The program maintains the right to defer ranking individuals who have not passed board exams. 

In the event that a match does not occur, the Residency Coordinator will pursue interested applicants from the remaining unmatched pool or any other qualified candidate.

United States citizenship is required to qualify for VHA appointment in a paid VA optometry resident position funded by the Office of Academic Affiliations. Reference: VA Handbook 5005/57, Part II, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.g.(1) & (5)(c), dated June 14, 2012.
Program Application Deadline: January 31st

Additional Comments

NONDISCRIMINATION STATEMENT Candidates will be considered regardless of race, color, sex, age, nondisqualifying disability, religion or creed, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.